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  • Win10, Server 2016 KMS servers start rejecting Win7 client activation

    Posted on January 9th, 2017 at 06:31 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    From ch100:

    It appears that Windows 2016 and Windows 10 when configured as KMS hosts, after a while reject the activation of Windows 7 KMS clients, considering them non-genuine. I don’t know the cause, but it appears to affect machines which were offline for about 2 weeks or longer, which should not happen. This became obvious after the Christmas & New Year’s break when many people took extended leave. Maybe it happens within Microsoft too, although I am expecting that their employees are not allowed to use Windows 7 any longer. ?

    There is a manual fix for the affected machines by rearming the system (KMS activation does not have a limited number of rearming operations, as the counter is reset each time one such activation takes place). But there is no guarantee that it will not happen again.

    The solution proposed by Microsoft is to use older OS as KMS hosts until there will be a fix available. This may be related to the known crashes of the Windows 2016 Server role Volume Activation Services.


    And Microsoft’s workaround (from the same thread):


    “The recommendation at this point is to leave your existing KMS system alone. Whether it is running on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2012 R2, continue to service the machine via security and quality updates. Allow your KMS system to activate down-level operating systems and Office installs (Windows 7, Windows Server 2008/2008 R2, and Office 2010). Utilize Active Directory Based Activation (ADBA) for all new clients (Windows 8, 8.1, Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, 2016, Windows 10, Office 2013, and Office 2016).”


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    Home Forums Win10, Server 2016 KMS servers start rejecting Win7 client activation

    This topic contains 11 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  ch100 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

    • Author
    • #13691 Reply

      Da Boss

      From ch100: It appears that Windows 2016 and Windows 10 when configured as KMS hosts, after a while reject the activation of Windows 7 KMS clients, co
      [See the full post at: Win10, Server 2016 KMS servers start rejecting Win7 client activation]

    • #13692 Reply

      James Bond 007

      Haha, so Windows Server 2016/Windows 10 KMS hosts cannot activate older OS such as Windows 7 now? Microsoft, what have you done again? What is your intention? Wanting to force those Windows 7 users to Windows 10 again? I am sure Windows 10 clients won’t have such a problem, haha.

      In the comments of that thread:

      “Microsoft, it really HURTS to manage your flagship products.”

      “As if this whole activation process wasn’t a burden on your users already, Microsoft. It’s just increasingly hostile being a Microsoft customer.”

      “Really Microsoft, really!?!?! Why even have the option to install a kms host for legacy clients on 2016 server then?”

      So true.

    • #13693 Reply


      Let the conspiracies start 😀

    • #13694 Reply


      Unfortunately Windows 2016 looks as non-finalised as is Windows 10 1607 (they share the same build). Or you can name them extremely and annoyingly buggy instead of non-finalised.
      Based on Windows 10 build 1607 being made CBB, one would expect that the build with patches to date is already Enterprise-ready, or at least Small Business ready (which should be the same thing), but it can hardly be named so. The server should have been Enterprise ready because it made it into LTSB from the launch.

      Windows 8.1/2012R2 needed 2 major patches to be ready and one more for fine tuning:

      KB2884846 – October 2013 Update Rollup (I think this one was built in the Server 2012 R2, like 1607 is built in Server 2016)

      KB2919355 – April 2014 Update 1 for Windows 8.1/2012R2 (the true Service Pack 1)

      KB3000850 – November 2014 Rollup – current reference build, ISO v4 for Server 2012 R2

      As it stands today, Windows 8.1 and 2012 R2 are completely stable and reliable and this was the case since April 2014 and more so since November 2014. Some people may not like the GUI, but this is cosmetic and subject for a different discussion. I don’t particularly like it either, but it passes, just.

      How many more “Feature Upgrades” Windows 10 needs to be on par with Windows 8.1?
      This is even more important for the Server 2016 equivalent, which is supposed to take over from Windows 2012 R2, but while I use it today, it is mostly for what I consider non-critical functionality and Windows 2012 R2 is always on stand-by to take over if required.

      There have been already 18 months since Windows 10 was originally released. How much longer does it take to get reasonably stable?
      In reality, 1511 was almost there, there were excellent reviews for Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 based on 1511, only to end with this yet another beta build (1607) officially supported replacing the previous stable one on its way out at the desktop level and not supported at the server level.

    • #13695 Reply


      It wouldn’t be funny if this was not the case 🙂

    • #13696 Reply


      “Haha, so Windows Server 2016/Windows 10 KMS hosts cannot activate older OS such as Windows 7 now?”

      They do… for a while.
      Time for a new beta, “Creators Edition” or whatever will be called when released.
      And another one, and another one…

    • #13698 Reply


      The issue, although apparently known for more than 1 year, is now mentioned on patchmanagement.org email list.

    • #13699 Reply


      You guys are misreading the issue.

      This is only for machines that are KMS clients that have been offline more than 2 weeks.

      So typically we see this when imaging a PC with an “old” image.

      Inconvenient for the help desk, yes.

      But this won’t affect machines on your network that are active.

      • #122584 Reply

        AskWoody MVP

        This is not true and you have confirmation with reference just posted by @abbodi86

    • #13700 Reply


      Well, yes it does. Our Server 2016 KMS host has just started developing this issue after we took it in production a few months ago. More and more windows 7 machines are reporting not genuine. slmgr.vbs /rearm – restart – slmgr.vbs /ato resolves it temporarily for them.
      Windows 10 machines and Office are activating just fine.
      We want a fix asap also!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #122582 Reply

      AskWoody MVP
      • #122583 Reply

        AskWoody MVP

        Excellent find after 6 months ?, but questions remain why this is noticed on Windows 2016 KMS and not on Windows 2012 R2 KMS.
        Very good finding and explanation from the source about the role of KB971033 and WAT and the reasons for it not being offered on WSUS. It is offered on the Enterprise version on Windows Update though, which I believe should not happen. Pro is different as it is meant to be used in dual function, as personal but also as business machine.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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